Friday, June 29, 2012

The "Five-Year Grace Period"

Let's harken back to February 2002, when the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl over the St. Louis Rams. This was the first championship for Boston since 1986, a 16-year drought, but certainly not bad considering many other cities' b'dicaments. From February 2002 to June 2008, Boston got six championships (note to our readers: I don't count the Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup because it's hockey, sorry) in little over six years. Three teams won championships, the Red Sox became a "Nation," and the Patriots totally didn't cheat by stealing other team's signals during their championship runs. Bill Simmons became the unofficial voice of Boston sports.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Joakim Noah Apparently Thinks He's Hilarious: A Look Back

Today is NBA Draft day. Five years ago on Draft day, we were so naive. We were happy with the new crop of rookies coming into the league. And then this guy showed up.

                                                  
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What a GD joke of a human being. Joakim Noah is the guy who thinks he's funny but just makes everyone uncomfortable. Don't try to look more ridiculous if you're Joakim Noah. It would've been funny if, like, Dwight Howard had done this. It's not funny when you do it, Joakim. It's gross and weird.

Seeing that gross-ass hair flowing with that bow tie and the intentionally goofy cheesing makes me literally want to projectile. I'd rather look directly into an eclipse for 5 straight minutes than directly into this photo for 5 straight seconds. It's bad when you make David Stern look good. Joakim Noah would be picked last in gym class if the gym class consisted of me and people I know. I think I'd rather give Danny DeVito a beej than have Joakim Noah breathe on me.

Joakim, I hear they have face transplant surgery now. That sounds like it's right up your alley. They also have FUCKING HAIRCUTS YOU DISGUSTING "HUMAN" BEING. HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE

Any more roasts of this disgusting photo will be kindly accepted and appreciated in the comments section.

Is the NBA Off-Season better than the Regular Season and Predictions for this Off-Season

Tonight, Anthony Davis will become a Hornet. That's about the only thing we can accurately predict about the NBA Draft. The NBA Draft leads to huge trades, incredible rumors (James Harden for a #3 pick!?!?!?), and ignites the NBA off-season. Since most teams haven't played in months, fans begin to dream of free agents and young stars teaming up with their core players. The NBA, more than any other sport lends, itself to this kind of rampant speculation and titillation in the off-season because the NBA, more than any other sport, relies on individual players. Teams know they are one big trade or free agent from becoming an instant championship contender. The 2007 Celtics and 2010 Heat have shown that teams can reach the finals immediately after construction. The Spurs landed Tim Duncan, and with the "Big Fundamental" at center, were guaranteed to win 50 games for the next 15 years. Anthony Davis might be that player. Additionally, fans always (and probably delusionally) think their team can instantly be re-hauled, or are one key veteran (Lamar Odom, Steve Nash, and Ray Allen come to mind this off-season) from a championship. This leads to millions of rumors, quotes being spun for or against teams, and exaggerating events (Nets GM Billy King attending Deron Williams' bday party springs to mind). This aspect of the sport is ridiculous and the rumors rarely come to fruition, but it's fun.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Why Baseball Payroll Matters



This past weekend, I got into a debate with some Yankees fans about the importance of payroll in baseball. They argued that the success of a team like the Rays proves that payroll isn't as important as I do. I believe, as you've read many times, that payroll is far and above more important than anything else, and here's why: today, the Rays and their $65 million payroll trotted out Jeff Keppinger and Brooks Conrad as their 3-4 hitters. Evan Longoria's injury means that Brooks Conrad, he of the career .218 average, is all of a sudden a cleanup hitter. The Yankees, by contrast, have survived Brett Gardner's elbow injury by plugging in Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez. The two have combined for nearly 700 career home runs and despite being past their primes, they are still solid major league players. The Rays have no margin for error, they are one injury away from Brooks Conrad hitting cleanup. The Yankees or Red Sox can easily plug their holes with accomplished veterans. Teams like the Rays can survive with cost efficient young players, young starting pitching in the case of the Rays, and hope to string together a bullpen of retreads and rookies. The Yankees spend about $35 million on their bullpen.


The moral of the story, is as always, that rooting for the Yankees (or fuck it, the Red Sox) is like rooting for the house in blackjack. Baseball needs a salary cap god damnnit. 

College Football Playoff: The Latest Evidence that 2012 is a Thing

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Are we really all just naive enough to think that the universe is allowing college football to have a playoff starting in 2014?

I enjoy sports played by the people who are the best at said sports (some may call these people "professionals"). But boy oh boy do I love March Madness. It's my favorite sporting event of each year, with the possible exception of the Scripps National Spelling Bee (the Bee would be a lock if it could be classified uncontroversially as a sporting event).  I have to think that a college football playoff would have the same effect on me as March Madness. Sure it's only four teams, but there's no way I'm not watching those three games come playoff time. Teams running the option ad nauseum and consistently referring to running backs as "tailbacks" was enough for me not to care about college football, let alone the whack-ass BCS. But I can't sit here, look our millions of readers in the eye, and say that I wouldn't relish the opportunity to see Boise State-supporting dicks shut the fuck up when their beloved blue-grass Broncos get bitched by Baylor (I know Baylor isn't usually a contender, but I had to keep up the alliteration and they're the best major-conference team that started with a B). And a college football playoff would give me that opportunity!

But college football actually doing something smart? Something that makes the sport more relevant to people (like myself) who have no direct affiliation to a college football team? Something that just makes the sport more exciting, fairer, and awesomer?

If that's not some 2012 shit, I don't know what is.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Youk

http://www.caseycamilleri.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Kevin-Youkilis.jpg

One of my favorites got traded to the White Sox yesterday for Brent Lillibridge and Zach Stewart. It's weird to think that this deal seems about right for a guy that's been a centerpiece of a winning team for the better part of the last decade. But, as anyone who watched Youk and thought about him critically could have predicted, when he fell, he fell fast. He will be missed.

In this weekend's news...

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...in which seanpett writes a hilariously premature diatribe against the Red Sox and the Braves get bitched by Franklin Morales and Aaron Cook.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sooooooooooooooo Gooooooodddddd


Jair Jurrjens had a ERA of 5.18 in Triple A over his last ten starts. Prior to that, he posted an ERA of 9.37 in four starts for the big club. Suffice to say, my prediction that this 2011 All-Star would have a terrible year was right. But then, by the glory of god, he balled the fuck out on the Red Sox. The Red Sox got three hits and one run in 7 2/3rd innings. They have scored the second most runs in the major leagues this season, yet Jair "Sooooo Goooodddd" Jurrjens shut them down.

Red Sox "Nation": it's time to take off your pink hats and think about what just happened. Jair Jurrjens was the answer last night. He was the answer to who can shut down your team and keep you tied for last place in the AL East. Your ace by default Jon Lester gave up ten hits and seemed incredibly hittable. The best possible explanation is that he's tipping his pitches because he looked fucking Randy Wolfian. Your first baseman, the proud owner of a $160 million contract, is being outslugged by Michael Bourn by fifty fucking points. Michael Bourn has 19 career home runs. David Ortiz didn't like a called strike so much that he roid raged for the whole next inning in the dugout. After the game Bobby Valentine did his thing where he makes that stupid fucking smirk. The smirk is trying to say "I've got everything under control, don't worry." What it really says is "You think ESPN will rehire me after I get fired in September?" Red Sox fans: this is your life. You pushed out a great manager amid rumors of pill use and bought so many aging free agents that you remind me of the 2002-2008 Yankees. Congratufuckinglations on not making the playoffs the past two years and probably missing out this year again. Good job good effort.

Friday, June 22, 2012

How Did Our Preview Hold Up?

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Back on April 30th we did an NBA playoffs preview. Here's how we stacked up at the end of things.

I went back and looked at which team each blogger chose to win each series. Each first round series was worth 1 point, second round was worth 2, third round was worth 4 and the Finals were worth 8, meaning each blogger had a total of 32 points in play. Let's see who won and who is the most talented, best analyst, best looking, and has the swingingest dick of all of us here at TW42M.

Sean "I think the Lakers are going to the Finals" Petterson: 23
Jon "I think the Grizzlies are gonna beat the Spurs again" Muchin: 27
Steve "That Man": 30 (!!!!!!!!)

Huh. Interesting. Looks like Brown Bear riggity ROLLED SON!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tomahawk Choppin' in Yankee Stadium

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I had the pleasure of going to all three Braves games at Yankee Stadium. Two Atlanta wins and I have some thoughts to share about my experience.

Monday


  • CC Sabathia is a bad mamba jamba. He dominates without you even thinking he's dominating. The Braves seemed to be seeing the ball well out of his hand and taking aggressive swings and yet by the end of the game he had 10 strikeouts and a complete game. He's at the point in his career where he can coast to an ERA around 3 and almost 20 wins while saving gas for the playoffs when he really steps his game up.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Vlad, A Man Out Of Time

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Vlad Guerrero

Vlad Guerrero has not officially retired, but it looks like his time in the Major Leagues is up. The former Expos and Angels slugger was long one of my favorite players and leaves behind a borderline Hall of Fame legacy that includes an MVP, 449 career home runs, nine All Star appearances, and zero pitches he didn't think he could hit. (He was such a notorious bad-ball hitter that after an altercation this past winter that saw Guerrero punch a bouncer outside a bar, I immediately texted every baseball fan I know, "I guess Vlad really will swing at anything.") (Also, I never said I was cool.) He may be one of the defining players of his generation, but I can't help but thinking that he played in the wrong era.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Advanced Stat All-Stars

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The All-Star break is about a month away in baseball, and the season for voting for All-Stars has begun. Because fans do not have perfect memories, and what memories they have are bound to be selective and inaccurate, statistics are probably the best way to determine which players should be All-Stars and which players shouldn't. But what stats should we use? Since the advent of the sabermetric revolution in baseball, we understand that stats like batting average, RBI, and wins are much, MUCH less relevant in evaluating a player's performance than on base percentage, slugging percentage, and ERA+. And real baseball nerds know the value of stats like BABIP, ISO, and xFIP. But which stats should be used in evaluating All-Stars? And more generally, what do these stats mean? Not every stat should be used to determine everything. Here is my attempt to put some stats in context, and to evaluate who, at this moment, should be the baseball All-Stars.

Karma's (Going to be) A Bitch

Last month, the New York Mets somehow unclenched the meaty jaws of their no-hitter curse when "ace" Johan Santana no-hit the Cardinals. This shocking turn of events furthered the Mayans' theory about the fate of Earth and more importantly, added a little too much swagger to the Mets. Mets fans were once easily identifiable throughout New York by their slumped shoulders, thinning hair, and "woe is me" attitudes. However, with the weighty curse no longer holding them down, suddenly frowns turned upside down and shoulders unslumped (nothing, unfortunately, can unslump Ike Davis). The overachieving Mets are still over .500 and David Wright is playing like an MVP. Even 37 year old knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, previously best known for his autobiography and stupid beard, is turning into an ace. Dickey currently has a 32 2/3 scoreless inning streak, a Mets team record.

Get ready for a lot more of this, Mets fans

A Semi-Serious Comparison of Dream Teams

NBATV yesterday aired a documentary of the 1992 Dream team, showing previously unseen footage and unheard anecdotes. The entertaining documentary concluded with the theory that no team would ever be better than that incarnation of the Dream Team. Let's go ahead and say that that's probably right, but just for shits let's look at one other team, the 2008 Redeem Team.


VS.

The following arbitrary categories will determine who stands as the best American team of all time.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Trend That Needs To Stop: Trend Pieces About NBA Blerds

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We here at The Whole 42 Minutes would like to think that we kicked off the recent craze of writing about NBA players' dorky sartorial choices  when Steve wrote his epochal National Blerd Association. Basketball players, who used to dress like thugs until paternalistic and image-conscious David Stern imposed a dress code, now dress like nerdy hipsters. We get it. It's a strange image, especially with a world class athlete like Kevin Durant choosing to 1. wear a backpack and 2. clip the clip.

But seriously, enough is enough.

Steve Rushin at SI has weighed in.

Bill Simmons has weighed in numerous times on his podcast and Grantland covers the fashions of Westbrook, Durant et al pretty much daily.

(Let's not forget Nick "Swaggy P" Young.)

Even the NYTimes led off an article about Westbrook with a nod to his lensless frames.

Yes that Times article pre-dates ours, but so what? I'm giving Steve the credit as the tipping point for this. Since we lent our coverage, it's now a trend to write trend pieces about dorky NBA fashion. And while we're flattered that the national media has followed our lead, I think it's about played out.

Instead, let's get back to pretending that this series is a referendum on whether Durant is better than LeBron, instead of whose team is better. As we all know, Chauncey Billups was better than Kobe Bryant in 2004.

The Death of Baseball's Middle Class

Major League Baseball remains the only professional US sports league that doesn't have a salary cap. Give credit to the players' union or Bud Selig's incompetence. It doesn't really matter. This isn't new information but it has become more important recently. The middle class of baseball will slowly but surely disappear. Teams are being divided into an upper class with huge markets or absurdly rich owners and a lower class with small markets hoping to suck enough until a Stephen Strasburg or David Price falls into their laps. The newest collective bargaining agreement severely limited the amount teams can spend on the draft and international signings, and put in strong punitive measures to force teams to comply. So the Pirates can't spend $15 million on the draft but the Yankees can spend $200 million on their team. Makes sense right?


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

NBA Finals by the Numbers

The Whole 42 Minutes brings you an in-depth look inside the numbers for the Thunder-Heat series.




10 awkward interviews with Doris Burke where you ask if you can change off the HD channel.

2 cliched, sappy features with players' random family members involved during halftime. Seriously TNT just put Ernie, Kenny, and Charles on at halftime. I promise I'll change the channel.

15 lame beard jokes and puns by Van Gundy, Breen, Jon Barry, et al.

1 slap in the mouth for whoever talks about these teams both having weather related names.

3 new head wrinkles on Heat small forward and resident intellectual Shane Battier.

2 mean mugging, scowling, fake tough guys. Udonis "the stupidest face in the NBA" Haslem and Kendrick "the crier" Perkins.

0 lenses in glasses.

1 strapped backpack.


9000000 mentions that this was a lockout-shortened season so it doesn't count for as much if the Heat win.

0 mentions that this was a lockout-shortened season so it doesn't count for as much if the Thunder win.

5 times Van Gundy jizzes about the hustle and effort of Nick Collison. 2 times it would get said if Collison weren't white.

3 big shots in the fourth quarter by Mario Chalmers as he continues growing his balls to Cassell size.

2 sad cross promotions with ABC shows. Oh look it's the cast of Grey's Anatomy!

3 random fucking celebrities who come out of the woodwork and claim OKC roots now that the Thunder are good. I'm looking at you Garth Brooks.

1 in game interview with David Stern where he addresses an issue and ends up doing nothing about it. Bonus points if he refers to Ibaka as "that African."

10,000 Oklahomans who look like Mike Miller. Get it? Because they both are white trash.

0 commercials for that awful show with Hyde from That 70's Show since the games are on ABC and not TNT Jesus Christ thank God.

1 important play by Derek Fisher. 10 minutes of discussion of his leadership, veteran savvy, and locker room presence.

$3,000,000 in suggested fines for flopping from Commissioner Van Gundy.

20 attempted and failed segues by Mike Breen after Van Gundy screams about flopping. You aren't Marv Albert, Breen, and you never will be!

1 custom made extra thick Nike headband for Lebron to cover up his receding hairline.

1 ring for Juwan Howard. Suck it CWebb and Jalen.

6 games for the Heat to win their first of many championships.

(not 5, not 6, not 7) 8 championships before Lebron's welcome party prediction comes true.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Boxing Will Save Itself By Destroying Itself: Or Something

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Obviously everybody was watching the boxing match on Saturday. You know, the sporting event that you had to actually pay extra to see when the biggest game of the NBA season and Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals were on (I know the Belmont took place as well but come on).

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Tale of Two Conference Finals

It's the cliche of cliches to say we live in a world where everything gets dissected and we try to create meaning in everything, but it's definitely true. I say this knowing that I now also turn to Twitter and Facebook during sporting events because that's how I feel connected to the event, and I don't even tweet. I just like to see other people's reactions even if they're by nature knee-jerk. I do this with TV shows, too, reading reviews of each episode after I watch them. These reviews, like in the moment sports tweets, functionally cannot take the long view because we don't know what's next. It's definitely a way to feel connected and to take in more information and to read some great jokes, but it leaves no time for real reflection.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I Look So Dumb Right Now

Last night, the Thunder overcame an 18 point halftime deficit and vanquished the #1 seed Spurs. I made the classic Jules and Vincent mistake of sucking the Spurs dick before they'd accomplished anything and I'm sorry. Thunder fans and haters in general please feel free to quote Rihanna's classic line, "you look so dumb right now." Thunder, take a bow. The Thunder upped their assist rate (last during the season), lowered their turnover rate (again last during the season), and got their role players, namely Perkins and Ibaka into the game offensively. Scott Brooks didn't outcoach Popovich but he held his own and that was a win for the Thunder. The Thunder played out of their goddamn minds for four straight games and beat a great Spurs team.



Just last season in the conference finals, Kevin Durant couldn't even get the ball in the Thunder's offense. I asked the semi-serious question "Do they have plays?" at least a dozen times. Now, not only was Durant getting the ball inside the lane, but he was controlling the game. James Harden made a huge improvement to his game and showed in game five with his stepback three that he has Cassellian testicles. Russell Westbrook might have the stupidest outfits in the NBA but he is an athletic freak with all the confidence in the world. The Thunder are going 91 Bulls on us and I'm shocked. I honestly thought they were at least another year away. I believed the old guard, the Mavs, Lakers, and Spurs, would be able to hold them off. I feel so dumb right now. The Western conference seemed like a muddled picture before the playoffs with several teams capable of making runs, but now the Durant-Westbrook-Harden Thunder will be the favorites for next year and for the next ten years.

Looking back on this series, I don't think the Spurs could have played better. They won the first two games pretty easily and showed up to the play for the next four. The Thunder just played better for four straight games. Unlike the Heat series, where you can see the Heat jogging back on defense as Van Gundy shrieks, the Spurs tried their hardest and played their best. And the scariest thing was that it didn't matter. The Thunder overcame an 18 point deficit in what seemed like two seconds and it didn't even look hard. I've been sleeping on the Thunder all season and that stops now. Congratulations OKC, you balled out this season and this playoffs. Take a bow.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

When In Drought

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I want to take my mind off the news from Wisconsin, so you know what that means. I just spent the last 30 minutes determining a new arbitrary historical drought to root for/against (personally, I'm in the camp that roots against) now that the Mets have finally gotten a no hitter. I've done a little research and it turns out, there aren't a whole lot of great options. I'm really bummed because, not only was the Mets' streak completely meaningless, but the flukish streak really bothered the team's fans. Anything that can be attributed to random chance but invokes existential angst in a team's fanbase is good by me.